Media November 2013

news in brief

Kawasaki to Supply Royal Navy

Tokyo has approved the sale of engine parts made in Japan for use by the Royal Navy, The Japan Times reported on 14 October.

There had been some controversy over whether the transaction violated Japan’s arms export ban, implemented in 1967. The government said that, because the gas turbine parts are also used in the private sector, the deal does not constitute a weapons sale.

The parts, which will be manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., are used in civilian aircraft, emergency generators and military vessels.

Kawasaki will produce the parts for Rolls-Royce plc, which supplies the Royal Navy. The Japanese firm is a long-standing technical partner of Rolls-Royce, and has been manufacturing parts for the Maritime Self-Defense Force under licence from the British firm.

London Okays First N-plant Since Fukushima

Britain has agreed to construct the first nuclear power plant in Europe since the 11 March 2011 crisis in Fukushima Prefecture provoked a review of global energy policies, media reported on 21 October.

The new reactor will be built at Hinkley Point, in south-west England, and is set to go online in 2023. The approval highlights the struggle to secure low-cost power.

While the current project was agreed with French and Chinese investors, UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey said he foresees “massive international investment” from Japan and South Korea.

Hitachi Challenges “Big Three” Firms

Hitachi Rail Europe is pursuing major contracts across the UK as it seeks to break up the dominance of Europe’s three main railway providers—Siemens AG, Bombardier Inc. and Alstom, The Independent reported on 28 October.

The contracts under bidding are for projects in Merseyside, Wales and Scotland.

Hitachi’s chief executive said Britain was a natural fit for Japanese investment, due to the predominance of the English language and the presence of three major automobile manufacturers in the country.

Securing any of the contracts would also safeguard the long-term future of the factory Hitachi plans to build in County Durham.

Education Shifting East

Asian universities are rising in global rankings, though institutions in the UK and the US still top the list for tertiary education, Japan Today reported on 3 October.

In its World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education magazine describes the trend as a “power shift from West to East”.

The University of Oxford came in first in Europe, and second in the overall global rankings. In Asia, The University of Tokyo nabbed the top spot, coming in 23rd overall.

The largest proportion of a university’s ranking (one-third) is based on how often its research is cited in academia.

Firm to Market Cancer Drug

AstraZeneca plc has agreed to co-promote the drug abiraterone in Japan, media reported on 11 October. The medication is made by Johnson & Johnson, Inc. to treat prostate cancer.

The UK and US pharmaceutical giants will work together to expand sales of the oncology medicine, which is currently sold under the Zytiga brand name in the US and Europe.

The move is expected to provide a new and steady stream of revenue for AstraZeneca and increase its visibility in the growing Japanese pharmaceuticals market.

Executives have deemed oncology a focus therapy area and named Japan as one of the firm’s “key growth drivers”.

“QE is a Misnomer”

The term quantitative easing (QE), coined by Prof Richard Werner, has been incorrectly applied to the monetary strategies now employed by the central banks of England and Japan, the BBC reported on 21 October.

Prof Werner, who currently works at the University of Southampton, wrote an article in the mid-1990s for Nihon Keizai Shimbun. In it, he urged the Japanese government to enter into long-term agreements to borrow from commercial banks.

However, the Bank of Japan’s version of QE basically involved issuing government bonds, which Werner opposed in his article. Later, the Bank of England also adopted the QE label for its monetary policy, which, like that of Japan, involves increasing central bank reserves.

Fukushima Food Promoted at London Culture Festival

A group of Fukushima natives organised a booth showcasing products from the region at the Japan Matsuri in London, media reported on 7 October.

The fifth annual festival was held on 5 October in Trafalgar Square. The Fukushima booth featured produce such as peaches grown in the prefecture among other items, including apple juice and Kitakata ramen noodles.

Volunteers initiated the project to communicate to the international community that Fukushima food and beverages are safe to consume.

The proceeds from sales were donated to a charity benefitting children from the Fukushima region who were displaced by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Animax Launches Online

Sony Pictures Television Networks will launch a UK version of its anime channel this autumn, Cable & Satellite International reported on 15 October.

The streaming online channel will be available at and later is expected to roll out on more platforms and devices. It will be a subscription-based, video-on-demand service.

The firm has also agreed to a long-term deal with VIZ Media to garner exclusive content for UK anime fans through the dedicated portal.

Drug Mule Gets 10 Years

The Supreme Court has convicted a British man of smuggling drugs into Japan after he was found not guilty in his initial lay judge trial, News24 reported on 23 October.

Geologist Robert Geoffrey Sawyer claimed he did not know about the 2.5kg of illegal stimulants in his luggage when he landed at Narita International Airport in 2010.

The top court rejected Sawyer’s claim and overturned the verdict from the lay judge trial, saying Sawyer was a “knowing drug mule”.

The defendant was given a 10-year sentence and fined ¥5mn.